Klobuchar, Emmer, Lead Minnesota Delegation in Request to Revise Medicaid Proposal

April 2, 2020
Press Release
Letter calls on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to revise the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) which could negatively affect Minnesotans’ access to care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer (MN-06), along with Senator Tina Smith and Representatives Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Angie Craig (MN-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Collin Peterson (MN-07), and Pete Stauber (MN-08), wrote a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling on the Administration to revise the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR). Many of the proposed changes could negatively impact Minnesota and the care provided to residents who rely on Medicaid as health care systems in the state confront the coronavirus pandemic.

“Minnesota’s Medicaid program serves over 1.1 million people, including children, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and low-income seniors and families. Current Medicaid rules provide states the flexibility to determine Medicaid benefits and to fund their Medicaid programs in a manner that best meets the particular needs of each state and its Medicaid population. The changes that MFAR would make to the Medicaid program—including changing allowable financing mechanisms, making significant changes to the amount of supplemental payments provided to physicians, and establishing new reporting and approval requirements that could limit the ability of states to plan appropriately for their programs—could result in program adjustments that could negatively affect providers and Medicaid patients. In addition, while we recognize that some of these proposed changes may be intended to ensure transparency and accountability in the Medicaid program, state and national estimates of the proposed rule’s impact on the continued financial viability of state Medicaid programs and patient access to care should be completed before CMS moves forward,” the members wrote.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below:

Dear Administrator Verma:

We write to express our concerns regarding the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in November 2019. While we are committed to ensuring financial transparency and the long-term stability of the Medicaid program, we are concerned that many of the proposed changes will negatively impact the state and the care provided to Minnesotans who rely on Medicaid as health care systems in Minnesota confront the coronavirus pandemic.

Minnesota’s Medicaid program serves over 1.1 million people, including children, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and low-income seniors and families. Current Medicaid rules provide states the flexibility to determine Medicaid benefits and to fund their Medicaid programs in a manner that best meets the particular needs of each state and its Medicaid population. The changes that MFAR would make to the Medicaid program—including changing allowable financing mechanisms, making significant changes to the amount of supplemental payments provided to physicians, and establishing new reporting and approval requirements that could limit the ability of states to plan appropriately for their programs—could result in program adjustments that could negatively affect providers and Medicaid patients. In addition, while we recognize that some of these proposed changes may be intended to ensure transparency and accountability in the Medicaid program, state and national estimates of the proposed rule’s impact on the continued financial viability of state Medicaid programs and patient access to care should be completed before CMS moves forward.

In light of the unprecedented challenges for the health of Americans and the strength of our health care system presented by the coronavirus pandemic, states and Medicaid beneficiaries should not have to worry about new requirements that could threaten the continuity of care and budgetary certainty needed to combat this public health crisis.

Accordingly, we urge CMS to revise the proposed rule and work with Minnesota to ensure that the state maintains flexibility while ensuring appropriate transparency so that there is no disruption to beneficiaries’ access to care at this critical time.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer (MN-06), along with Senator Tina Smith and Representatives Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Angie Craig (MN-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Collin Peterson (MN-07), and Pete Stauber (MN-08)

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